Biden vows to stay in race, MN Democrats slow to get on board

Biden vows to stay in race, MN Democrats slow to get on board

Biden vows to stay in race, MN Democrats slow to get on board

President Joe Biden sent a letter to his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill vowing to stay in the presidential race despite a torrent of questions about his debate performance many Democrats have called “alarming,” “disastrous” and “abysmal.” All of which raised more questions about his fitness to continue his campaign and serve another four years in office.

“I can respond to all this by saying clearly and unequivocally: I wouldn’t be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024,” he says in the letter. Biden noted he won 87% of the vote during the nominating primaries and caucuses.

“This was a process open to anyone who wanted to run. Only three people chose to challenge me,” he wrote. “One fared so badly that he left the primaries to run as an independent. Another attacked me for being too old and was soundly defeated. The voters of the Democratic Party have voted. They have chosen me to be the nominee of the party.”

One of those who chose to challenge Biden was Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips. Phillips has been mostly quiet since Biden’s debate performance and the chorus of criticism from Democrats and Republicans. He declined comment again Monday to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, although he did say he thinks this will be a “consequential week.”

While running against Biden in the New Hampshire primary, Phillips repeatedly said what many Democrats are saying now.

“He is an unelectable Democrat… A historically low approval rating right now,” Phillips told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in New Hampshire while campaigning in January. “America wants change,” he said at another campaign stop. “We’re facing an extraordinary moment of consequence and it’s time to move to the future.”

Among Minnesota’s Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House, so far only 5th District Congresswoman Ilhan Omar publicly says she still supports Biden. “I am standing with President Biden and Vice President Harris,” Omar said in a statement. “I remain committed to helping the president be successful in November and defeat Donald Trump to ensure this criminal will never hold office again.”

Omar’s 5th District Democratic challenger Don Samuels also supports Biden. “The choice between former President Donald Trump, a convicted felon who tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, and President Joe Biden, an aging public servant, is a clear one for me. It’s the choice between a resilient democracy and looming autocracy.”

Over the weekend 2nd District Congresswoman Angie Craig called for Biden to step aside in the presidential race.

“This is not a decision I’ve come to lightly, but there is simply too much at stake to risk a second Donald Trump presidency,” Craig said in a statement. “That’s why I respectfully call on President Biden to step aside as the Democratic nominee for a second term as President and allow for a new generation of leaders to step forward.”

Rep. Betty McCollum hasn’t said where she stands on Biden’s candidacy but was harshly critical of Biden after the debate.

“Donald Trump showed that he is a serious threat to our nation and our democracy. He continually misled and lied to the American people. Unfortunately, President Biden’s performance during the debate was terrible,” she said in late June. “Democrats have serious questions for President Biden and he must answer them urgently. We cannot rely solely on President Biden’s exemplary record of progress for the American people. He must prove that he is up to the job for the next four years.”

Biden says he’s siding with the voters who made him the presumptive Democratic nominee.

“I feel a deep obligation to the faith and the trust the voters of the Democratic Party have placed in me to run this year,” he wrote in his letter. “It was their decision to make. Not the press, not the pundits, not the big donors, not any selected group of individuals, no matter how well-intentioned.”

So far, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith haven’t said whether they still support Biden’s candidacy.

“The stakes couldn’t be higher,” Klobuchar said in a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Monday. “Our very democracy hangs in the balance. The next week is critical and this is the moment the President must demonstrate to the American people that he can win.”

Gov. Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison both say they continue to support the president’s campaign.

Unless something else happens, Biden will be officially re-nominated at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago on Aug. 22.